Good morning and happy Monday….how happy can be a Monday morning with 6 days ahead and a Saturday shift, I’m not sure it does increase my happy neurons but hey oh, that’s life…so make the most of it and enjoy when you are off work.

Now don’t know if I have ever spoke about it in case I didn’t well, I’ve joined the gym few months ago with a colleague because I do a very sedentary job, 7.5hrs seat in a box changing currencies and when is time to get up and go away I am terribly in pain, not only I need obviously to lose some weight and plus because my other half is working on late shift, I am always on my own, so join the gym has been the best idea…but this doesn’t mean I’ve stopped cooking or baking, well because I am always on my own I do not cook properly like I do when we are both at home, and for that I am very glad, I am back on my past “single regime” where I used to feed myself only with cup of coffee and 1 ham sandwich, but baking is a passion although I am not baking every single day…

Here in England the weather is pretty much rubbish, raining, windy, the first day of Summer the 21st June was absolutely horrendous so, I went to my booiaka class, a mix between zumba and free style, and then when I came back I thought that the best way to spend the rest of the day was baking…but what??? Well on an Italian website called giallozafferano.it I was looking for the Cantuccini Recipe.

NOW I think that some few words need to be spent about this biscuits. Why?? Because living in UK and watching loads of food channels on sky, and loads of chefs, from Barefoot Contessa to Jaime Oliver (that I love) or from Raymond Blanc to Nigella….dear Nigella oh dear!!!!!,  NO ONE OF THEM, really respect the origin of this biscuits.

Although I don’t want to sound as picky annoying grumpy Italian woman, which I can be sometimes, but honestly I think, not only for Italian recipe, that IF and WHEN people wants to copy or make own an old recipe like this one they just have few options or follow religiously the recipe or when they make variations, even with only few differences’ which could be the kind of dried nuts to add…well they cannot use, in my opinion the original name. I get quite crossed when I see famous chefs cooking “Italian” but not in the Italian way….when you change the basic of a recipe is not anymore “the original one”, I’m not say that is not good but I found it very annoying.

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

My almonds biscuits

For example the “Bolognese Sauce” that in Italy is called Ragù, why on earth people add mushrooms or peppers, which is not Bolognese sauce anymore is something else. The basic for Bolognese or Ragù, are a mix of pork and veal meat, onion’s, carrots, celery, and a little bit of tomatoes sauce….has to simmer  for hours and hours and has to became a very thick one…So please do not called Bolognese because we do not do it like that. Same for Carbonara Sauce. Its not a mixtures of cream cheese and bacon or ham like I saw. The real Carbonara is 1 whole egg per person, eventually a little bit of milk if you are not a good chef,to avoid having scrambled eggs while you put the drained spaghetti or linguine in the beaten eggs and toss it. The eggs cooked with the pasta heath this is what give to the sauce the velvety look not the cream; this is the real one, cream is just something people add to avoid the scrambled effects, otherwise you can just use little table spoon of pasta water and then add the crispy bacon or lardons.

Biscotti di Prato History

Biscotti more correctly known as biscotti di Prato (Prato biscuits), also known as Cantucci or cantuccini (English: coffee bread), are twice-baked biscuits originating in the Italian city of Prato. The biscuits are oblong-shaped almond biscuits, made dry and crunchy through cutting the loaf of dough while still hot and fresh from baking in the oven. The first documented recipe for the biscuit is a centuries-old manuscript, now preserved in Prato, found by the eighteenth-century scholar Amadio Baldanzi. In this document, the biscuits are called of Genoa. The term cantuccini is most commonly used today in Tuscany, but originally refers to variations or imitations which deviate from the traditional recipe in a few key points such as the use of yeasts, acids (to make them less dry) and flavorings’. Rusks are larger, longer biscuits, rustic bread dough enriched with olive oil and anise seeds.

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310W

My almonds biscuits

The confusion on the name may have been born from the fact that on the old sign (still present) of “Biscottificio Antonio Mattei,” the leading manufacturer of biscuits of Prato, is written just below the name of the shop: “Manufacturers of cantuccini,” which at the time were one of the major products of the biscuits. Through Middle French, the word was imported into the English language as “biscuit”, although in English as in Italian “biscuit” does not refer specifically to a twice-baked cookie, but applies to any type of biscuit.

Following rediscovery of the original recipe by Prato-based pastry chef Antonio Mattei in the nineteenth century, the mixture is composed exclusively of flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts; and almonds that are not roasted or skinned. The traditional recipe uses no form of yeast or fat (butter, oil, milk). The barely wet dough is then cooked twice: once in slab form, and after cutting in sliced form, with the second baking defining how hard the biscotti are.

 So what I did bake Saturday is not the original one but a variation, they are my Almond biscuits with the biscotti di Prato shape.

Ingredients

–         280gr Caster Sugar

–         100 gr of Butter (they said melted but I think will be better room temp)

–         4 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk

–         250 gr of Almonds

–         1 lemon zest

–         500 gr 600gr of plain flour

–         Pinch of salt

–         4gr of baking powder

I want to try to use or less butter or just softened  because with this quantity the flour is not enough and you will end up having a sort of cake mix, and I have added more, (this is why i’ve changed in 600gr) until the consistency was like bit more solid and then  put the dough in the fridge or freezer for few minutes and then quickly work it on your pastry board with flour and makes few logs .

Method:

First, turn the oven to 190 ° and when the temperature reaches let toast the almonds well arranged on a tray for 3-4 minutes, then remove them from the oven and let them cool.  Then proceed to form the dough for the biscotti: put the 4 whole eggs and egg yolk in the planetary (or in a large bowl) and add the pinch of salt and granulated sugar;

First, turn the oven to 190 ° and when the temperature reaches let toast the almonds well arranged on a plate for 3-4 minutes, then remove them from the oven and let them cool.  Then proceed to form the dough for the biscotti: put the 4 whole eggs and egg yolk in the planetary (or in a large bowl) and add the pinch of salt and granulated sugar and beat very well until mixture is fluffy.

cantucciok_seq1

This photo sequence is not mine but comes from http://www.giallozafferano.it

  Now add the melted butter and blended, add the flour sifted with baking powder and mix all ingredients well.

cantucciok_seq2

This photo sequence is not mine but comes from http://www.giallozafferano.it

cantucciok_seq3

This photo sequence is not mine but comes from http://www.giallozafferano.it

Once the mixtures is soft crumb and, add the almonds now cooled , transfer the mixture on a floured surface and shaped by hand to achieve a uniform ball.

cantucciok_seq4 - Copia

This photo sequence is not mine but comes from http://www.giallozafferano.it

Divide the dough into two or three logs of the same size (depending on how big you want your biscuits, with two logs you will get larger cookies, if you create three logs instead will be smaller) and derived from these two or three logs approximately 30cm, transferred on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, brush them with the egg slightly beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven at 190.

cantucciok_seq5

This photo sequence is not mine but comes from http://www.giallozafferano.it

After this time, remove them from the oven, let cool a few minutes and proceed to cut them diagonally like the Prato biscuits cookies of about 1-1.5 cm. Arrange the biscuits obtained again on the plate (15) and then “biscottare/ double cook” in the oven at 170 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  Extract the nooks obtained and wait until it is well chilled to taste.

Advertisements